Pietrina and Dick do Paris

Last updated on 08/02/99 -- to be notified of updates, please tell Dick by clicking here:

Well, we're here at last. The movers delivered the last box Thursday (April 15th) and were done unwrapping our stuff by Friday noon. We're still unpacking and haven't even begun to think about hanging pictures yet. (OK, Pietrina thinks of little else, but Dick hasn't done any thinking about it at least).

We jettisoned a lot of our stuff in Houston like dining room sets (fortunately Maria bought an empty house just as we left town) and grand pianos (Dick has an electronic keyboard that hasn't made its way out of the wrappers yet. If you think the music you're hearing is lame, just wait!)

map to our home, not our home page

to see a larger map of where we're at, click here

How's it been! Like heaven, only better. We'd highly recommend living in your own apartment in Paris for two months on the expense account. We are growing in wisdom and girth but will probably start dieting now that we have to do some of our own cooking.  

Hopefully this will stay down when you come to visit

We've been in the apartment for two months now, most of the time with rented furniture which fortunately left us last week. We're on the fifth floor (which the French, of course, call the fourth floor) with three bedrooms (that can now sleep ten people, especially if some of them are married to each other. I'm not going to explain this further, but it could be very French). This includes a Murphy bed (that swings out from the wall). Installing it gave Dick an appreciation for French apartment construction which seems to defy the laws of physics.

The Louvre -- excuse the horrific glass pyramid

Looking South from our house (and seeing through a couple buildings with your infrared vision. Does this place make you feel super, or what!)

Our Monica also has a weight problem

Typical Gallery

The home is halfway between the Opera and the Louvre. The location is incredible. The Palais Royal is five minutes down the street (its garden is a good place to read a book on a sunny day). Dick walks 5 minutes to the express subway and gets to/from work in about 25 minutes including about 10 minutes of walking. Pietrina has made the acquaintance of most of the local merchants who are starting to give her discounts since she's now a local. She has her little shopping cart on wheels and fits in well with the Parisians. We've found the world's greatest hardware store where we bought a ton of lights and Dick bought a hammer as he had inadvertently sent the 5 or 6 that he has to storage in Houston.

The opera garnier -- and Dick's subway stop

Looking North from our Corner at the Opera. (OK, there are three operas here, at least! This one is the Opera Garnier.

Within a kilometer of the house are probably a thousand restaurants with about 50 of them good enough to make the Michelin guide. Our goal was to try them all while on the expense account and we came close. These French know how to eat! The only downer was the Chicago Pizza House. Having eaten the real thing in Chicago, we recommend staying away from any French restaurant that tries to be American. But everything else is great. Even the snails that Dick eats and thinks about all the early morning forays into the Houston backyard to smash the annual snail infestation. Our favorite is cassolette, an old French country cooking recipe that Pietrina used to make in the states but we've found at a Michelin one star restaurant within a 100 meters of our house.  

Every weekend brings new adventures which we relish because, after all, we've got a lot of time to see them. By now we've gone through the big museums and are planning revisits. We're into the second tier of museums and visiting shows like the David Hockley show at the Centre Pompidou. We've started to find off-track guides like archeologists who talk about Roman and Neolithic Paris.

The pompidou -- a little more pompousness would help

Believe it or not, this is a modern French version of a museum!   Progress was OK, but it went on too long!

We've rediscovered walking and don't plan on getting a car anytime soon. You wouldn't believe how Parisians park. The spaces seem to be about as large as the car. In fact, we sometimes have to walk past several cars before we can find a space large enough to walk sideways through. Dick gets a monthly subway pass and we bought bikes on our way out of Houston and hope to take them out next Sunday when (as is the case every Sunday between April and October) the feeder roads along the Seine are closed to vehicular traffic).  
Dick's job is going well but is busier than he thought it would be. (What else is new?). Everyone at work speaks English to him so he is not learning French all that much. Pietrina has finished her lessons but is still practicing quite a bit.  
The only downer of the experience so far is the French screwing up the visa. This meant that we had to sneak back into Houston a few weeks ago to get our visa when it finally got sent to the Houston French consulate after sitting on a bureaucrat's desk in Paris for a month! This was a 50 hour round trip with twenty hours on the plane.  
Most of our belongs came through the move unscathed with the exception of our scanner. Therefore I've had to steal web pictures from other pages. Obviously it's time for Dick to get a digital camera. We just got reconnected to the web a couple of weeks ago. The delay was caused by our having to wait to get a cable modem (which doesn't prove to be as fast as I thought).  
Now that we're somewhat settled, we're using Paris as our base to see the rest of Europe. Opera Avenue is at our doorstep and it is filled with travel agencies offering incredible deals. The French respond with a plethora of four-day weekends. We've already used one such weekend to see Venice (story to come soon) and have scheduled Prague for mid-May. With John and Francimar's wedding at the end of May, we probably won't go anywhere else until at least mid June.  
Anyway, we've lost our excuse not to email so we hope you'll be hearing more from us -- and that we hear more from you as well.  
Pietrina and Dick  



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